THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIAL EDUCATION IN CHINA
Tennessee Technological University
This paper provides an overview of China’s education system and the development of special education, given the history, current personnel preparation as well as the special challenges for special education in China. It explores why special education has lagged behind in terms of the challenges the China’s special education encounters such as its lack of special educators, and low enrollment of children with disabilities where the education system has developed so rapidly.
The regular education in China has long and thriving history. Influenced by the Confucian’s theory, education is more honored than any other vocational training in young children and young adults. So, education is still put in the center of China’s administrative policies even though there are several setbacks in the development of China’s regular education system. For example, the Cultural Revolution led to tremendous losses for China’s higher education and the secondary education, since the higher system was shut down and thus a rising generation of college and graduate students, academicians and technicians, professionals and teachers were lost, and classes in secondary schools were closed or stopped for the political scramble. Ten years later in 1978, however, china’s education system began to gain its vigor. Since then, China has adopted the education policy of nine-year compulsory schooling system, which means all children are required to attend school for at least nine years, which usually means that children can complete primary and three years secondary education. The May 1985 National Conference on Education (Education in the People's Republic of China, 2005) brought a milestone in China’s education as it recognized five fundamental areas for reform to be discussed in connection with implementing the party Central Committee's Draft Decision on Reforming the...